Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

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Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:06 pm

Which would you be your choice? KE seems be ranked higher by Chambers but is said to have a notorious working culture as compared to that of Ropes?

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:13 pm

I'm at a non-NYC K&E office. There's a small funds group here and the partner personalities range from nightmarish to very strange to workaholic (apparently, some kind of stand down order was given out when I was a summer to go home at 6PM, but this person refused to follow the "recommendation." To be fair, I'm pretty sure that they're gunning pretty hard for share partner). The associates seem busy but fairly decent personalities across the board.

Regardless, it's K&E. No matter which office you go to, there will be (at the very least) intense personalities.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:49 pm

I’m a second year in Ropes’ funds group. I’m very happy with my decision. The work is consistent and the people are generally smart and kind. Hedge funds, private investment funds, and registered funds each have their own flavor, but overall it’s a good group with very healthy work flow.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:49 pm
I’m a second year in Ropes’ funds group. I’m very happy with my decision. The work is consistent and the people are generally smart and kind. Hedge funds, private investment funds, and registered funds each have their own flavor, but overall it’s a good group with very healthy work flow.
Are there subgroups by product type (as you said, hedge funds, PE funds and registered funds) within Ropes' funds group? Does an associate in this group have exposure to all types of funds or just focus on one of them? Who decides on what sort of funds an associate is going to work on? Any material differences between the Boston funds team and NY funds team? Thanks!

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:42 am

Funds associate at a different firm. My impression is that if you can go to Kirkland and survive you have a shot at going to a massive PE shop later. Debatable whether that’s what you’d want since hours are just as bad as biglaw. People who have gone to Kirkland that I know of from my firm are generally pretty unhappy from what I’ve heard. I think it’s mostly because of the culture. You can also sort of hide there. You’re on these massive teams (Kirkland launches regularly cost 1-2 million) and you may not have client contact or significant responsibility, but lots of work. You might want that!

At a smaller shop (Ropes, Wilkie, Lowenstein), you’ll have smaller clients, more direct responsibility, and a steeper learning curve. Your clients are overall going to be less prestigious but that doesn’t mean the work will be boring. You are less likely to exit to a GC role making high 6 figures, not because these practices are worse, but because your client base is different. More likely to go a lifestyle in house role or a small shop making mid level biglaw salary.

I’d go to a smaller practice knowing you can always lateral into a place like Kirkland. They are notorious for recruiting out of the smaller firms. I think the training you get somewhere with more client contact is valuable, especially as a junior lawyer.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:42 am
Funds associate at a different firm. My impression is that if you can go to Kirkland and survive you have a shot at going to a massive PE shop later. Debatable whether that’s what you’d want since hours are just as bad as biglaw. People who have gone to Kirkland that I know of from my firm are generally pretty unhappy from what I’ve heard. I think it’s mostly because of the culture. You can also sort of hide there. You’re on these massive teams (Kirkland launches regularly cost 1-2 million) and you may not have client contact or significant responsibility, but lots of work. You might want that!

At a smaller shop (Ropes, Wilkie, Lowenstein), you’ll have smaller clients, more direct responsibility, and a steeper learning curve. Your clients are overall going to be less prestigious but that doesn’t mean the work will be boring. You are less likely to exit to a GC role making high 6 figures, not because these practices are worse, but because your client base is different. More likely to go a lifestyle in house role or a small shop making mid level biglaw salary.

I’d go to a smaller practice knowing you can always lateral into a place like Kirkland. They are notorious for recruiting out of the smaller firms. I think the training you get somewhere with more client contact is valuable, especially as a junior lawyer.
Thanks. Are you suggesting that Ropes' funds group is perceived as a second/third-tier, less prestigious team in this market...? I am not familiar about this and would appreciate your insights.

(My friends at law school who went went to or will go to Ropes for their 2L summers are pretty good performers with shinning backgrounds and are by no means less competitive in OCIs compared to those going to Kirkland... But I understand that Ropes' Funds practice is indeed smaller in terms of the number of attorneys. Also, Kirkland seems to focus on PE funds only whereas Ropes has a broader coverage in the asset management space.)

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Goceltics25 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:06 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:42 am
Funds associate at a different firm. My impression is that if you can go to Kirkland and survive you have a shot at going to a massive PE shop later. Debatable whether that’s what you’d want since hours are just as bad as biglaw. People who have gone to Kirkland that I know of from my firm are generally pretty unhappy from what I’ve heard. I think it’s mostly because of the culture. You can also sort of hide there. You’re on these massive teams (Kirkland launches regularly cost 1-2 million) and you may not have client contact or significant responsibility, but lots of work. You might want that!

At a smaller shop (Ropes, Wilkie, Lowenstein), you’ll have smaller clients, more direct responsibility, and a steeper learning curve. Your clients are overall going to be less prestigious but that doesn’t mean the work will be boring. You are less likely to exit to a GC role making high 6 figures, not because these practices are worse, but because your client base is different. More likely to go a lifestyle in house role or a small shop making mid level biglaw salary.

I’d go to a smaller practice knowing you can always lateral into a place like Kirkland. They are notorious for recruiting out of the smaller firms. I think the training you get somewhere with more client contact is valuable, especially as a junior lawyer.
Thanks. Are you suggesting that Ropes' funds group is perceived as a second/third-tier, less prestigious team in this market...? I am not familiar about this and would appreciate your insights.

(My friends at law school who went went to or will go to Ropes for their 2L summers are pretty good performers with shinning backgrounds and are by no means less competitive in OCIs compared to those going to Kirkland... But I understand that Ropes' Funds practice is indeed smaller in terms of the number of attorneys. Also, Kirkland seems to focus on PE funds only whereas Ropes has a broader coverage in the asset management space.)
I would say that Ropes' fund work is at par with Kirkland. Ropes has tons of work in the PE fund space, and is known as top level for mutual fund work, if not the best. They also have decent hedge fund work as well. Ropes has great clients that you hear about in all the financial press too. If you look at their website, you'll see name brand clients in their fund space. Ropes has work with both GP and LP side work for funds as well, which is unique.

If you get to choose between either, you'll be fine work wise if you want to do funds type of work. The culture between the two seems very different, so that would likely be your only consideration, go with what would fit your work style best/who you fit in more with.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:57 pm

Let's be real here - Ropes has a nice practice but saying it's on par with K&E's is wildly inaccurate and a disservice to the OP who is looking for answers. Right now, having a hedge fund and mutual fund practice is a drag on the bottom line and a liability. Both hedge and mutual funds have absolutely cratered since the rise of ETFs following the GFC and many large firms have shed these practice groups due to lack of demand. Also none of the top fund formation shops do LP work - it is low margin and low leverage, thus not very profitable, and it can also conflict you out of doing far more lucrative sponsor-side representation. Ropes' sponsor-side practice is miles behind that of K&E's when it comes to number of representations, fund size, total dollars raised, marquee GPs, etc. The two are not comparable, and the gap only continues to grow.

Anon because I have a dog in this fight and I'm an industry "vet" at this point having done formation work at large firm(s) for over a decade.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Lukky » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:57 pm
Let's be real here - Ropes has a nice practice but saying it's on par with K&E's is wildly inaccurate and a disservice to the OP who is looking for answers. Right now, having a hedge fund and mutual fund practice is a drag on the bottom line and a liability. Both hedge and mutual funds have absolutely cratered since the rise of ETFs following the GFC and many large firms have shed these practice groups due to lack of demand. Also none of the top fund formation shops do LP work - it is low margin and low leverage, thus not very profitable, and it can also conflict you out of doing far more lucrative sponsor-side representation. Ropes' sponsor-side practice is miles behind that of K&E's when it comes to number of representations, fund size, total dollars raised, marquee GPs, etc. The two are not comparable, and the gap only continues to grow.

Anon because I have a dog in this fight and I'm an industry "vet" at this point having done formation work at large firm(s) for over a decade.
Since it seems like you have a lot of experience in this field, I had two questions:

1. What exactly makes certain practices low-margin / less lucrative? Are the billable rates significantly lower?

2. I know that Kirkland, Debevois, and Simpson are the top fund formation practices according to Chambers. I was curious about how you would compare the practice groups. I heard that Kirkland does more middle-market stuff whereas Simpson tends to do more work for mega-funds, but are all three of these practices similarly well-regarded?

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:53 pm

Lukky wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:16 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:57 pm
Let's be real here - Ropes has a nice practice but saying it's on par with K&E's is wildly inaccurate and a disservice to the OP who is looking for answers. Right now, having a hedge fund and mutual fund practice is a drag on the bottom line and a liability. Both hedge and mutual funds have absolutely cratered since the rise of ETFs following the GFC and many large firms have shed these practice groups due to lack of demand. Also none of the top fund formation shops do LP work - it is low margin and low leverage, thus not very profitable, and it can also conflict you out of doing far more lucrative sponsor-side representation. Ropes' sponsor-side practice is miles behind that of K&E's when it comes to number of representations, fund size, total dollars raised, marquee GPs, etc. The two are not comparable, and the gap only continues to grow.

Anon because I have a dog in this fight and I'm an industry "vet" at this point having done formation work at large firm(s) for over a decade.
Since it seems like you have a lot of experience in this field, I had two questions:

1. What exactly makes certain practices low-margin / less lucrative? Are the billable rates significantly lower?

2. I know that Kirkland, Debevois, and Simpson are the top fund formation practices according to Chambers. I was curious about how you would compare the practice groups. I heard that Kirkland does more middle-market stuff whereas Simpson tends to do more work for mega-funds, but are all three of these practices similarly well-regarded?
1. Complex matters involving a lot of work where you can throw a bunch of associates on = more profitable. Also, clients need to be willing/able to pay for the time. LP work doesn't require an army of associates and clients mostly ask for capped fees per representation these days.

2. Kirkland basically does everything from mid sized to mega - their goal at this point is sheer volume and capturing as much of the market as possible. STB is focused on protecting their existing client base from Kirkland's encroachment, and they have largely ignored growth and instead focused on keeping their mega-cap clients happy. Debevoise got raided a few years ago by K&E and lost one of their group heads along with a number of important clients. But they are still doing ok.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by smile0751 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:57 pm
Let's be real here - Ropes has a nice practice but saying it's on par with K&E's is wildly inaccurate and a disservice to the OP who is looking for answers. Right now, having a hedge fund and mutual fund practice is a drag on the bottom line and a liability. Both hedge and mutual funds have absolutely cratered since the rise of ETFs following the GFC and many large firms have shed these practice groups due to lack of demand. Also none of the top fund formation shops do LP work - it is low margin and low leverage, thus not very profitable, and it can also conflict you out of doing far more lucrative sponsor-side representation. Ropes' sponsor-side practice is miles behind that of K&E's when it comes to number of representations, fund size, total dollars raised, marquee GPs, etc. The two are not comparable, and the gap only continues to grow.

Anon because I have a dog in this fight and I'm an industry "vet" at this point having done formation work at large firm(s) for over a decade.
While I may not be an industry “vet”, my perception is that the hedge fund and mutual fund teams are as hot as ever at Ropes and the most recent group update said the groups are posting YoY profitability and are super busy even with the slower economy. I’ll say at Ropes the perception is that Kirkland attorneys are viewed as peers or as slightly less sophisticated at the same year level. Obviously that’s slightly biased, but it’s my perception and what I’ve heard from others.

As to the question from above about picking your subgroup, if you come in as a junior you generally get your pick of groups and can do as much or as little as you want from each bucket. I’m a junior and only focus on one sub group. Many of my friends do work for clients across all three sub-groups. If you lateral in, you may be hired to a specific practice.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:48 pm

smile0751 wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:38 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:57 pm
Let's be real here - Ropes has a nice practice but saying it's on par with K&E's is wildly inaccurate and a disservice to the OP who is looking for answers. Right now, having a hedge fund and mutual fund practice is a drag on the bottom line and a liability. Both hedge and mutual funds have absolutely cratered since the rise of ETFs following the GFC and many large firms have shed these practice groups due to lack of demand. Also none of the top fund formation shops do LP work - it is low margin and low leverage, thus not very profitable, and it can also conflict you out of doing far more lucrative sponsor-side representation. Ropes' sponsor-side practice is miles behind that of K&E's when it comes to number of representations, fund size, total dollars raised, marquee GPs, etc. The two are not comparable, and the gap only continues to grow.

Anon because I have a dog in this fight and I'm an industry "vet" at this point having done formation work at large firm(s) for over a decade.
While I may not be an industry “vet”, my perception is that the hedge fund and mutual fund teams are as hot as ever at Ropes and the most recent group update said the groups are posting YoY profitability and are super busy even with the slower economy. I’ll say at Ropes the perception is that Kirkland attorneys are viewed as peers or as slightly less sophisticated at the same year level. Obviously that’s slightly biased, but it’s my perception and what I’ve heard from others.

As to the question from above about picking your subgroup, if you come in as a junior you generally get your pick of groups and can do as much or as little as you want from each bucket. I’m a junior and only focus on one sub group. Many of my friends do work for clients across all three sub-groups. If you lateral in, you may be hired to a specific practice.
Thanks. How about Boston office vs. NY office? Boston is the HQ but NY also seems to have a large funds team. Any material differences in terms of the atmosphere, types of work, etc.? Would a junior work mostly with partners and associates from her home office, or would cross-office staffing be quite common within this group?

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:16 pm

A bit off the main point, but for the funds folks in the chat (or others): I'm a junior tax associate that is interested in switching practice groups by lateraling to a new firm and joining their funds practice. I imagine that's generally a hard sell without a connection, even if I'm willing to be docked to a first year. With that said, a good portion of my practice thus far has been working closely with my firm's fund formation group to draft and review tax provisions in core fund formation documents -- PPMs, LPAs, summary of terms, side letter provisions, etc -- and, of course, I would be prepared to speak to those experiences if given the opportunity. Is it silly to think that my (relevant?) tax experience would help get me in the door at a funds practice?

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:57 pm
Let's be real here - Ropes has a nice practice but saying it's on par with K&E's is wildly inaccurate and a disservice to the OP who is looking for answers. Right now, having a hedge fund and mutual fund practice is a drag on the bottom line and a liability. Both hedge and mutual funds have absolutely cratered since the rise of ETFs following the GFC and many large firms have shed these practice groups due to lack of demand. Also none of the top fund formation shops do LP work - it is low margin and low leverage, thus not very profitable, and it can also conflict you out of doing far more lucrative sponsor-side representation. Ropes' sponsor-side practice is miles behind that of K&E's when it comes to number of representations, fund size, total dollars raised, marquee GPs, etc. The two are not comparable, and the gap only continues to grow.

Anon because I have a dog in this fight and I'm an industry "vet" at this point having done formation work at large firm(s) for over a decade.
For OP's (and other prospective fund lawyers') benefit, let's get into a bit more details:

- You say K&E does more marquee GP work. Can you name some specific PE sponsors that K&E does work for that is "miles ahead" of Ropes' clients? Maybe Vista? Ropes is known to do sponsor-side work for large PE shops like Welsh Carson, Bain, THL and etc. Sure, those shops aren't at the level of Blackstone/Apollo/KKR, but K&E doesn't do work for those types of PE shops either. So in terms of "marquee clients," I would say Ropes and K&E are generally on equal footing.

- Sure, hedge funds and mutual funds are generally going downhill since the last recession (although the big HF shops are still doing fine), but from an associate's perspective, it can be beneficial to get a broader experience doing sponsor side representation rather than just doing non-stop PE fundraises. Unlike K&E, Ropes has a broader array of fund clients (HFs, credit funds, real estate funds, mutual funds etc.) so unless you are a die-hard PE person (and have no interest in learning about other types of funds), getting a more diverse experience at Ropes may be more beneficial, especially as a junior/midlevel.

- Similar point on LP-side work - regardless of whether it's profitable for the firm, from an associate's perspective, you get a broader, balanced perspective by doing both GP and LP work. In addition to Ropes, Weil, Cleary and Debevoise do plenty of LP work (especially for sovereign wealth funds). So LP side work is by no means a lower tier work that "top shops" don't want to touch.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:14 pm

Former in-house funds guy at a European Megafund here.

"Prestige" doesn't mean jack shit in the funds space as long as you can do the job . I've worked across a plethora of firms repping LPs and one of the firms mentioned here every attorney seems like they are getting ground in addition to their work product clearly being under pressure due to ehh drafting.

Just make sure that you are at a place where funds is similar or equal to PE M&A because the worst is when your funds team is basically a service team to the sponsor M&A group.

Funds shouldn't be a work til 3Am type role unless you work at a firm where your partner is basically an income partner for the sponsor M&A group.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:26 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:57 pm
Let's be real here - Ropes has a nice practice but saying it's on par with K&E's is wildly inaccurate and a disservice to the OP who is looking for answers. Right now, having a hedge fund and mutual fund practice is a drag on the bottom line and a liability. Both hedge and mutual funds have absolutely cratered since the rise of ETFs following the GFC and many large firms have shed these practice groups due to lack of demand. Also none of the top fund formation shops do LP work - it is low margin and low leverage, thus not very profitable, and it can also conflict you out of doing far more lucrative sponsor-side representation. Ropes' sponsor-side practice is miles behind that of K&E's when it comes to number of representations, fund size, total dollars raised, marquee GPs, etc. The two are not comparable, and the gap only continues to grow.

Anon because I have a dog in this fight and I'm an industry "vet" at this point having done formation work at large firm(s) for over a decade.
For OP's (and other prospective fund lawyers') benefit, let's get into a bit more details:

- You say K&E does more marquee GP work. Can you name some specific PE sponsors that K&E does work for that is "miles ahead" of Ropes' clients? Maybe Vista? Ropes is known to do sponsor-side work for large PE shops like Welsh Carson, Bain, THL and etc. Sure, those shops aren't at the level of Blackstone/Apollo/KKR, but K&E doesn't do work for those types of PE shops either. So in terms of "marquee clients," I would say Ropes and K&E are generally on equal footing.

- Sure, hedge funds and mutual funds are generally going downhill since the last recession (although the big HF shops are still doing fine), but from an associate's perspective, it can be beneficial to get a broader experience doing sponsor side representation rather than just doing non-stop PE fundraises. Unlike K&E, Ropes has a broader array of fund clients (HFs, credit funds, real estate funds, mutual funds etc.) so unless you are a die-hard PE person (and have no interest in learning about other types of funds), getting a more diverse experience at Ropes may be more beneficial, especially as a junior/midlevel.

- Similar point on LP-side work - regardless of whether it's profitable for the firm, from an associate's perspective, you get a broader, balanced perspective by doing both GP and LP work. In addition to Ropes, Weil, Cleary and Debevoise do plenty of LP work (especially for sovereign wealth funds). So LP side work is by no means a lower tier work that "top shops" don't want to touch.
Kirkland only has that Vista relationship because of David Breach who is #3 at Vista / ex head of SF Kirkland.

I'd honestly hate working at either firm in funds because your ultimately just a service team for the sponsor M&A group with same expected timelines.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:06 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:42 am
Funds associate at a different firm. My impression is that if you can go to Kirkland and survive you have a shot at going to a massive PE shop later. Debatable whether that’s what you’d want since hours are just as bad as biglaw. People who have gone to Kirkland that I know of from my firm are generally pretty unhappy from what I’ve heard. I think it’s mostly because of the culture. You can also sort of hide there. You’re on these massive teams (Kirkland launches regularly cost 1-2 million) and you may not have client contact or significant responsibility, but lots of work. You might want that!

At a smaller shop (Ropes, Wilkie, Lowenstein), you’ll have smaller clients, more direct responsibility, and a steeper learning curve. Your clients are overall going to be less prestigious but that doesn’t mean the work will be boring. You are less likely to exit to a GC role making high 6 figures, not because these practices are worse, but because your client base is different. More likely to go a lifestyle in house role or a small shop making mid level biglaw salary.

I’d go to a smaller practice knowing you can always lateral into a place like Kirkland. They are notorious for recruiting out of the smaller firms. I think the training you get somewhere with more client contact is valuable, especially as a junior lawyer.
Thanks. Are you suggesting that Ropes' funds group is perceived as a second/third-tier, less prestigious team in this market...? I am not familiar about this and would appreciate your insights.

(My friends at law school who went went to or will go to Ropes for their 2L summers are pretty good performers with shinning backgrounds and are by no means less competitive in OCIs compared to those going to Kirkland... But I understand that Ropes' Funds practice is indeed smaller in terms of the number of attorneys. Also, Kirkland seems to focus on PE funds only whereas Ropes has a broader coverage in the asset management space.)
Not at all. My comment was not meant to imply a certain quality of work. It’s all about dollars. Kirkland charges a lot for work, staffs heavily and is a PE powerhouse, so they get the largest PE funds as clients. Those are the clients that can afford to pay 2+ mm for a launch. So in that sense their client base is more “prestigious”. That said, if you care about exit options, working at most of those shops is akin to work in biglaw just with more politics.

Smaller, scrappier, and in my opinion, more fun, clients use smaller firms. Sidley, Ropes, Wilkie, Schulte, Kirkland, Simpson, Fried Frank are the major players in funds work (until you get to mutual funds and EU or HK funds). The quality of the work is pretty similar across all of these firms, you just have different client bases and some do more PE or more hedge. Sidley does more investor-side representation. Fried Frank is a PE hotshot.

Once you start looking at Katten, Seward and those firms you are looking at lesser quality work.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:16 pm
A bit off the main point, but for the funds folks in the chat (or others): I'm a junior tax associate that is interested in switching practice groups by lateraling to a new firm and joining their funds practice. I imagine that's generally a hard sell without a connection, even if I'm willing to be docked to a first year. With that said, a good portion of my practice thus far has been working closely with my firm's fund formation group to draft and review tax provisions in core fund formation documents -- PPMs, LPAs, summary of terms, side letter provisions, etc -- and, of course, I would be prepared to speak to those experiences if given the opportunity. Is it silly to think that my (relevant?) tax experience would help get me in the door at a funds practice?
I don’t think you’d have an issue switching. Tax is integral to funds work and you’ll have better knowledge of fee mechanics and structuring than your peers do. I’d look to move at your current firm into the funds group and then lateral from there. That said, funds is hot right now and you can probably retool no problem. I’d try to avoid taking more than a class year down (I think you can get away with it).

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by smile0751 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:48 pm
smile0751 wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:38 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:57 pm
Let's be real here - Ropes has a nice practice but saying it's on par with K&E's is wildly inaccurate and a disservice to the OP who is looking for answers. Right now, having a hedge fund and mutual fund practice is a drag on the bottom line and a liability. Both hedge and mutual funds have absolutely cratered since the rise of ETFs following the GFC and many large firms have shed these practice groups due to lack of demand. Also none of the top fund formation shops do LP work - it is low margin and low leverage, thus not very profitable, and it can also conflict you out of doing far more lucrative sponsor-side representation. Ropes' sponsor-side practice is miles behind that of K&E's when it comes to number of representations, fund size, total dollars raised, marquee GPs, etc. The two are not comparable, and the gap only continues to grow.

Anon because I have a dog in this fight and I'm an industry "vet" at this point having done formation work at large firm(s) for over a decade.
While I may not be an industry “vet”, my perception is that the hedge fund and mutual fund teams are as hot as ever at Ropes and the most recent group update said the groups are posting YoY profitability and are super busy even with the slower economy. I’ll say at Ropes the perception is that Kirkland attorneys are viewed as peers or as slightly less sophisticated at the same year level. Obviously that’s slightly biased, but it’s my perception and what I’ve heard from others.

As to the question from above about picking your subgroup, if you come in as a junior you generally get your pick of groups and can do as much or as little as you want from each bucket. I’m a junior and only focus on one sub group. Many of my friends do work for clients across all three sub-groups. If you lateral in, you may be hired to a specific practice.
Thanks. How about Boston office vs. NY office? Boston is the HQ but NY also seems to have a large funds team. Any material differences in terms of the atmosphere, types of work, etc.? Would a junior work mostly with partners and associates from her home office, or would cross-office staffing be quite common within this group?
Boston and NY are pretty similar. Important partners are in each. You’d probably have a mix of work from partners in your home office and in other offices. The only difference in culture is probably related to the location itself. NY office’s culture seems a bit more “New York” while the Boston office is a bit more “Boston”, if that makes sense at all. Not a strong difference but I could see how some people would prefer one location over the other.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Popopo2019 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:09 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:06 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:42 am
Funds associate at a different firm. My impression is that if you can go to Kirkland and survive you have a shot at going to a massive PE shop later. Debatable whether that’s what you’d want since hours are just as bad as biglaw. People who have gone to Kirkland that I know of from my firm are generally pretty unhappy from what I’ve heard. I think it’s mostly because of the culture. You can also sort of hide there. You’re on these massive teams (Kirkland launches regularly cost 1-2 million) and you may not have client contact or significant responsibility, but lots of work. You might want that!

At a smaller shop (Ropes, Wilkie, Lowenstein), you’ll have smaller clients, more direct responsibility, and a steeper learning curve. Your clients are overall going to be less prestigious but that doesn’t mean the work will be boring. You are less likely to exit to a GC role making high 6 figures, not because these practices are worse, but because your client base is different. More likely to go a lifestyle in house role or a small shop making mid level biglaw salary.

I’d go to a smaller practice knowing you can always lateral into a place like Kirkland. They are notorious for recruiting out of the smaller firms. I think the training you get somewhere with more client contact is valuable, especially as a junior lawyer.
Thanks. Are you suggesting that Ropes' funds group is perceived as a second/third-tier, less prestigious team in this market...? I am not familiar about this and would appreciate your insights.

(My friends at law school who went went to or will go to Ropes for their 2L summers are pretty good performers with shinning backgrounds and are by no means less competitive in OCIs compared to those going to Kirkland... But I understand that Ropes' Funds practice is indeed smaller in terms of the number of attorneys. Also, Kirkland seems to focus on PE funds only whereas Ropes has a broader coverage in the asset management space.)
Not at all. My comment was not meant to imply a certain quality of work. It’s all about dollars. Kirkland charges a lot for work, staffs heavily and is a PE powerhouse, so they get the largest PE funds as clients. Those are the clients that can afford to pay 2+ mm for a launch. So in that sense their client base is more “prestigious”. That said, if you care about exit options, working at most of those shops is akin to work in biglaw just with more politics.

Smaller, scrappier, and in my opinion, more fun, clients use smaller firms. Sidley, Ropes, Wilkie, Schulte, Kirkland, Simpson, Fried Frank are the major players in funds work (until you get to mutual funds and EU or HK funds). The quality of the work is pretty similar across all of these firms, you just have different client bases and some do more PE or more hedge. Sidley does more investor-side representation. Fried Frank is a PE hotshot.

Once you start looking at Katten, Seward and those firms you are looking at lesser quality work.
Also to be fair PW punches way above it’s weight given it’s small group size. They’re probably the market leader in credit at this point and do a ton of mega hedge/multi product sponsor work (again for their size). I work in the industry but not there.

KE is clear market leader in quantity for PE. Quality is of course high as well.

Schulte really has lost its luster recently (last few years especially). They don’t do much for large clients any more, mostly smaller hedge.

Agree on the rest of the above.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:09 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:06 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:42 am
Funds associate at a different firm. My impression is that if you can go to Kirkland and survive you have a shot at going to a massive PE shop later. Debatable whether that’s what you’d want since hours are just as bad as biglaw. People who have gone to Kirkland that I know of from my firm are generally pretty unhappy from what I’ve heard. I think it’s mostly because of the culture. You can also sort of hide there. You’re on these massive teams (Kirkland launches regularly cost 1-2 million) and you may not have client contact or significant responsibility, but lots of work. You might want that!

At a smaller shop (Ropes, Wilkie, Lowenstein), you’ll have smaller clients, more direct responsibility, and a steeper learning curve. Your clients are overall going to be less prestigious but that doesn’t mean the work will be boring. You are less likely to exit to a GC role making high 6 figures, not because these practices are worse, but because your client base is different. More likely to go a lifestyle in house role or a small shop making mid level biglaw salary.

I’d go to a smaller practice knowing you can always lateral into a place like Kirkland. They are notorious for recruiting out of the smaller firms. I think the training you get somewhere with more client contact is valuable, especially as a junior lawyer.
Thanks. Are you suggesting that Ropes' funds group is perceived as a second/third-tier, less prestigious team in this market...? I am not familiar about this and would appreciate your insights.

(My friends at law school who went went to or will go to Ropes for their 2L summers are pretty good performers with shinning backgrounds and are by no means less competitive in OCIs compared to those going to Kirkland... But I understand that Ropes' Funds practice is indeed smaller in terms of the number of attorneys. Also, Kirkland seems to focus on PE funds only whereas Ropes has a broader coverage in the asset management space.)
Not at all. My comment was not meant to imply a certain quality of work. It’s all about dollars. Kirkland charges a lot for work, staffs heavily and is a PE powerhouse, so they get the largest PE funds as clients. Those are the clients that can afford to pay 2+ mm for a launch. So in that sense their client base is more “prestigious”. That said, if you care about exit options, working at most of those shops is akin to work in biglaw just with more politics.

Smaller, scrappier, and in my opinion, more fun, clients use smaller firms. Sidley, Ropes, Wilkie, Schulte, Kirkland, Simpson, Fried Frank are the major players in funds work (until you get to mutual funds and EU or HK funds). The quality of the work is pretty similar across all of these firms, you just have different client bases and some do more PE or more hedge. Sidley does more investor-side representation. Fried Frank is a PE hotshot.

Once you start looking at Katten, Seward and those firms you are looking at lesser quality work.
Don't disagree that KE is a PE powerhouse, but don't think that necessarily mean they do fund work for the largest PE funds. Simpson still does most of the fund-level work for the largest PE funds (Blackstone, KKR, and some of the other funds referred to in the industry as "mega funds"). Don't doubt that KE staffs heavily and charges a lot, but that doesn't mean that they handle the largest fundraises.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:33 am
Don't disagree that KE is a PE powerhouse, but don't think that necessarily mean they do fund work for the largest PE funds. Simpson still does most of the fund-level work for the largest PE funds (Blackstone, KKR, and some of the other funds referred to in the industry as "mega funds"). Don't doubt that KE staffs heavily and charges a lot, but that doesn't mean that they handle the largest fundraises.
STB hasn't done KKR funds work for sometime; it was Linklaters (and I think Debevoise for a while. I think the Links/KKR funds team went to Debevoise after Berthou etc went to Kirkland from Debevoise.

With that said, STB funds still has all or a good chunk of "marquee" funds work - either exclusively or predominantly. There's Blackstone, as you mentioned; also Carlyle, Morgan Stanley Real Estate, a bunch of others. Debevoise (historically; not sure now) and Ropes (Advent, some of Bain Capital's work) also play in that league. Plus Schulte and Sidley do some regular hedge funds work, Weil had Brookfield IIRC, Cleary for TPG, and Fried Frank has a slightly under-the-radar funds team that's very tight with Goldman. (Larry Barshay earns even more than his brother Scott at Paul Weiss.)

Kirkland's of course a fantastic franchise with some very good funds lawyers across multiple offices. (STB, for example, has some good European funds work, but doesn't represent all the US funds for their London work. K&E seems to do as well for funds in London as Simmons and Sidley there, which I don't think any other US funds firm in London can say.)

When thinking about Kirkland as a place to go, to go back to the OP, my big question was always "how many of the third or sixth years in a group started in that group straight out of law school?" While STB, Ropes and Debevoise had laterals, a few years ago it seemed to me as though the people who were at Kirkland years 1-3 were a completely different set from the equivalent class three years later, and then from NSP again. It may be that people are getting great exit opportunities from K&E. It may also be that the constant churn makes it an uncomfortable place to stay very long.

I still don't think STB has had an entire "funds team" lateral in to disrupt the place in New York the way Kirkland seems to every few years - if anything, it's the most stable group in the firm. I'm not sure about Ropes, but based on impressions it seems a little more constant. This isn't a knock on Kirkland or its business model, both of which are very successful. It just may be a better place to which to go than at which to start. If you want a quick exit after you pay your loans, go where you'll make the most money - and that's probably Kirkland.

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Re: Kirkland vs Ropes - Funds

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Oct 15, 2020 1:33 pm

STB London has the top funds practice in Europe - look up Jason Glover. K&E is known to be a PE powerhouse but agreed on the high churn rates mentioned above and more particularly I don’t think the training or skills you receive at K&E in the junior to junior-mid level is very well regarded by other funds practices.

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